Lat: 34 26.439′ S
Lon: 25 34.613′ E

All is well on board, just tired. The first 7 hours or so was pretty rough. I knew it was going to be quite a ride when I reached the harbor entrance and spotted the large pilothouse monohull that had left just before me. It was only about 0.5 nm ahead, but its AIS transmitter said it was making less than 2 knots and all I could see were its masts. The hull and considerable deckhouse were hidden below the waves. The next 7 hours or so was a full-on washing machine effect. Things came loose that hadn’t been on the floor for months, and the strong wind and big seas stayed forward of the beam. By sunset, things started to calm down a bit as the swell left over from yesterday’s blow started to subside and the wind gradually made its way back to the beam.

I did manage pretty good speed with a boost from the current, which just disappeared a couple of hours ago. So far, I’ve only been on the radio twice confirming that ships could see and avoid me. I was on the radio this morning at about 6 am when I noticed a strange sight off to starboard. I grabbed the binoculars and could see literally hundreds of dolphins breaking the surface as they chased and fed on what must have been a pretty large school of fish. Hundreds of birds swarmed overhead, swooping down in turns to grab a bite as well. At about 9:30 this morning, I was eyeing a large ship headed straight at me from ahead when a whale surfaced and blew so close to the bows that I could see the individual water drops and was afraid I might hit him. A minute or so later, the depth sounder went from reading too deep to return a value to sounding 100′ and then 40′ and then a few seconds later the whale surface again only 40′ or so off to starboard. Its big, wrinkled blowhole looked large enough to fit my head into, and its body was definitely larger than the boat. It’s deceiving how slowly they seem to be moving their massive bodies but how quickly they can appear, disappear, and maneuver out of the way of the boat (as long as they’re awake at least, they’re sometimes hit by sailboats while sleeping at the surface).

DSC_0630 Just a portion of the feeding frenzy

It doesn’t seem like I’ve sailed that much farther south than Durban, but it’s definitely colder. Shoes, pants, and a sweater aren’t enough to stay warm at night. The sky finally cleared today, but even in bright sunlight it’s too cold to take my shirts off. I guess that’s a sign that it’s time to sail back toward the equator. It should be less than a day now before I reach the farthest point south in my planned course and turn north toward the cape and the Atlantic. It looks like the combination of good progress and good weather forecast will let me make Simon’s Town without stopping.